ABUJA, Jan. 31 (Xinhua) -- China and Nigeria have gained new drivers for common development as Africa's largest economy formally joined the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in 2018, said Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria Zhou Pingjian Thursday.
Speaking at the Spring Festival reception for the media in Abuja, Zhou said bilateral cooperation will enjoy broad prospects under the BRI, which will further the already close bilateral economic relations.
China customs data show that China-Nigeria trade volume hit 15.3 billion U.S. dollars in 2018, up 10.8 percent year-on-year, with Nigeria remaining as China's third largest trade partner in Africa.
China will actively promote international cooperation through BRI to achieve policy, infrastructure, trade, financial and people-to-people connectivity, the ambassador said.
Zhou said China and Nigeria scored fruitful and prominent achievements in infrastructure in the past year. He listed the commissioning of Abuja Light Railway, which is the first operating light railway in West Africa, and two new airport terminals. Ongoing projects include a large hydropower plant, a rail line and a deep seaport.
"China-Nigeria relations are now at their best in history," he said, noting that the BRI would elevate the strategic partnership between the two countries to a new level.
Nigeria joined the BRI together with 27 other African countries at the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation held in September, increasing the number of BRI's African member countries to 37.